Learn how to grow tomatillos and add them to your list of what to grow in your garden this year. Tomatillos are simple to grow with a tart distinctive flavor that is delicious in salsa and sauces. Tomatillos thrive in warm weather and are often heavy producers.

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

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Here are 7 tips for growing tomatillos:

1. Plant tomatillos at the best time

Tomatillos prefer warm soil (70-80℉) and are frost and cold-sensitive. Use a soil thermometer to check soil temperature before planting. Plant tomatillos from seed or transplant. 

If starting from seed indoors, start seeds 4 weeks before the last frost. Not sure when your last frost date is? Enter your zip code into this Frost Date Calculator.

Start seeds and set out transplants about 2 weeks after you typically plant tomatoes. Seeds are available from Seedsnow.com.

In the low desert of Arizona, plant tomatillos during the month of March and again when the monsoon season comes in late July or August. 

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

2. How to plant tomatillos? Plant tomatillos deeply

Tomatillo means “little tomato” in Spanish, and just like tomatoes, tomatillos can be planted deeply – up to the top leaves of the plant. Roots will form along the stem of the buried tomatillo and feed the growing plant.

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

3. Give tomatillos plenty of room

Tomatillo plants are large and sprawling. Space tomatillos 2 ½ feet apart. Tomatillos also do well when planted in containers (at least 5-gallon size). Tomatillos can be left to sprawl on the ground but trellising makes harvesting easier. 

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

4. Plant an amigo for your tomatillo

A key tip for learning how to grow tomatillos is to make sure to plant at least 2 plants. Tomatillos are not self-fruitful, and it is important to plant at least 2 tomatillo plants near each other to ensure fruiting.

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

5. Care for growing tomatillos correctly

  • Tomatillos need even moisture to prevent blossom end rot.
  • Don’t give tomatillos supplemental fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in more foliage and less fruit. 
  • Tomatillos grown in the low desert of Arizona benefit from afternoon shade. This post shares ways to add shade to your garden.
How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

6. Harvest tomatillos at the right time

Fruit typically begins to ripen 60 – 80 days after transplant and continues to produce through frost. Picking tomatillos as they ripen encourages the plant to keep producing.

Underripe

Overripe

Just Right

Loose husk

Very dry husk

Husk just beginning to dry out

Fruit is small and hard

Yellow fruit

Fruit fills husk

 

Larger seeds

Slight softening of fruit

 

Less flavor

Best flavor, smaller seeds

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

7. Use tomatillos in a variety of ways

Once you know how to grow tomatillos you’ll have plenty to share with family and friends. Store tomatillos in the refrigerator and leave husks on until ready to use. Fresh tomatillos can be chopped and added to guacamole or salsa. Tomatillos are delicious roasted or sautéed and added to sauces and salsa.

How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

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How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos
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7 Comments on How to Grow Tomatillos: 7 Tips for Growing Tomatillos

  1. The leaves seem to be breaking out in like a cancerous type of thing where the leaves just literally fall apart because in them ugly

  2. Hi. My 4 tomatillo plants are growing like crazy (2 green, 2 purple) but I seem to be having 2 issues: 1) few blossoms and 2) no fruit despite blossoms. So I have 2 questions.

    I think your post just addressed issue #1–few blossoms relative to great foliage growth–too much nitrogen given–the organic fertilizer I used when I planted the starts is 4-3-1 and I just added some more a couple of days ago. Is there a way to address this problem?

    Any thoughts on the second issue? I am shading them in the afternoon but there are several hours in which pollinators have access to the blossoms. The blossoms look great and happy and then they shrivel and fall off.

    TIA!
    Heather

    • High temps also affect pollen – that may be part of the problem. If you can keep it alive over the summer you may have better luck with pollination rates as temps cool.

  3. Hi I had a few tomatillos plants I started I knew they grew quite big so I shared them they all were doing great. I kept 2 Well one was (is) big & one not as big. My landlord cut down some branches & let them smash down into all my plants I’ve been tending so diligently. The smaller tomatillos plant was unsaveable. So now I have 1 large one it has alot of fruit growing & flowers, but now I just read about companion plant, will it not grow more, or pollinate? I do have lot of visiting bees. It is in a container I move it to shade in late afternoon this is so upsetting! Thank You!

    • It may not have more fruit set without a second one going forward. You could move it to get afternoon shade if desired.

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